By Craig Simonian
For the past fifteen years, Vineyard Missions has invited missions leaders throughout our movement to gather together for an amazing four days of connecting and equipping. For the first few years, this Missions Leaders Meeting (MLM) went relatively unnoticed. But with each passing year, rumors were increasing about how empowering and inspirational these meetings really were. People were connecting with others who shared the same passion for specific parts of the world while being resourced with incredibly helpful tools to help make their dream of a church multiplication movement in their focus-country a reality. And all that was happening against the backdrop of incredible worship and miracles!
For me, the MLM has been absolutely life-giving. While I’d typically arrive full of expectancy each year, God would always catch me off guard in a way that always left me on my knees. For the most part, beyond the great teaching and fellowship, the Holy Spirit seemed to use this particular gathering to release a fresh revelation of the bigness of Jesus. And so I’d leave the meetings not only having been encouraged and equipped, but ready to believe God for SO much more, knowing that the One who parted the seas and raised the dead could use me and my church in profound ways - not because we’re great, but because He’s GREAT. Just the idea that we get to make our hero, Jesus Christ, the hero of the nations, has kept me coming year after year.
If that weren’t enough, over the past four years, these gatherings were infused with even greater vision as Multiply Vineyard joined in the fun! Together, the level of training, worship, envisioning, and spiritual power continued to rise until last year when God began making it incredibly clear that He was about to take church planting here in the US and throughout the nations to an entirely different level for us as the Vineyard. It seems as though God is showing us that the box that defined what is and what isn’t possible for us as a movement is getting a whole new makeover.
In fact, next week, Mark Fields will be sharing what will no doubt be an epic message outlining not only how God has stirred multiplication movements across the globe but how He’s been faithfully depositing in us the very things necessary for us to ignite those same kind of movements from our neighborhoods to the nations of the world. So whether you’ll be attending this year’s MLM or not, know that its impact is for all of us in the Vineyard. And so we would ask that you join together in prayer for the MLM from October 3rd through 7th - that this would be a new pivot point for the Vineyard…to give away, in a whole new way, all He is depositing in us as a movement to those across the streets and those across the seas. Pray for Phil Strout, Mark Fields, Michael Gatlin, and our other speakers, as well as the Vineyard Missions and Multiply Vineyard teams who give so much to make this gathering all that God intends for it.
After five years working with the US Center for World Mission, Craig Simonian spent another five years working in Tajikistan (Muslim Central Asia). In 2000, Craig and his wife, Joyce, were called to plant the church Craig now pastors, the Vineyard Community Church in Morris Plains, New Jersey. Craig served on the Missions Task Force for over ten years as its East Coast Representative and Mobilization Coordinator, and he was also part of the Vineyard's Muslim Engagement Team. Craig and his wife, Joyce, have two incredible daughters, Rebecca and Sarah. Craig’s dreams include growing closer with Joyce each year, always having his girls close by and seeing them walk in deep intimacy with Jesus, seeing VCC Morris Plains plant churches around the region, and owning an Orange County custom chopper.